When should osteoporosis be treated with medication?

Women whose bone density test shows T-scores of -2.5 or lower should begin therapy to reduce their risk of fracture. Many women need treatment if they have osteopenia, which is bone weakness that is not as severe as osteoporosis.

Your doctor might use the World Health Organization fracture risk assessment tool, or FRAX, to see if you qualify for treatment based on your risk factors and bone density results. . People who have had a typical osteoporosis fracture, such as that of the wrist, spine, or hip, should also be treated (sometimes even if the bone density results are normal).

How is osteoporosis treated?

Treatments for established osteoporosis include:

  • Weight-bearing exercise
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Medications:
    • Estrogen therapy
    • Bisphosphonates: Fosamax® (aledronate sodium), Actonel®, Atelvia® (risedronate), Boniva® (ibandronate), Reclast® (zoledronic acid)
    • Selective estrogen receptor modulators: Evista® (raloxifene)
    • Parathyroid hormone: Forteo® (teriparatide)
    • Biologic therapy: Prolia® (denosumab)

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/04/2015.


  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis. Accessed 10/9/2015.
  • National Osteoporosis Foundation About Osteoporosis. Accessed 10/9/2015.

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